France-Albert René (born November 16, 1935-27 February 2019), Seychelles politician, president of the country in 1977-2004.
He was the leader of the Socialist United People's Party of Seychelles. After the country gained independence in 1976, he assumed the office of prime minister. In 1977 he carried out a bloodless coup in which he overthrew President James Mancham. Following the coup, he took over the position of the head of government. In 1978, he transformed the United People's Party into the Progressive Seychelles Popular Front. A year later, he introduced a new constitution, which consolidated the single-party government in the country . In 1979, 1984 and 1989, his subsequent reelections took place as president. In the years of the Cold War, he remained neutral and maneuvered between the West and the USSR.
In this 1979, he stopped the attempt to invade the country (before it started) that Mancham wanted to do with the help of American diplomats in Kenya and Seychelles (according to some sources also the French government). In the 1980s, several unsuccessful coups occurred against his governments. Some of them were organized with the participation of apartheid South Africa, which was confirmed by an independent UN investigation. According to some sources, the CIA was involved in the attempts to overthrow René.
In 1991, under the pressure of the opposition and France and Great Britain, he initiated the process of democratization. He made it possible to create new political parties, and two years later he organized a referendum in which a new constitution was adopted. In 1993 he won the free and multi-party presidential election. He remained in power after the 1998 and 2001 elections. In February 2004, René announced his retirement and the transfer of power to the vice-president, James Michel; this change took place on April 16, 2004